In order to maintain perspective (stay grounded) during the build-up to my book launch, I decided to volunteer as a guide on the garden tours over the recent Spring Festival in Hogsback.
I received a morning's training from experienced guides, who included a retired professor of Botany. I was introduced to the lilt of new words - Lyriodendron (for the primitive Tulip tree); Karumi (the Japanese azalea); Tilopia (previously Warrister - for a remarkable Australian protea).
The unknown inevitably visits upon you foreign vocabulary, for you to get your tongue around, extending the horizons of your imagination, both inward and out. But known vocab, too, has hidden crannies.
Etymologically speaking, Paradiso is 'a royal, enclosed park'. A place of safety, a haven: boundaried, a space, which by definition defends your peace.
Biblically speaking, however, it is a place of temptation: a place that offers you the privilege of choice.
Paradiso is, in the Christian heritage, the earth - whose plants and creatures we can choose to care for, such that we may serve thereby the survival and health of our bodies and souls. Or not.
Many have chosen to leave the place of peace. Individuals such as I marked in my previous blog, who transgress against the principle of loving care, are a case in point.
Many, however, have chosen to say yes, to take responsibility. It has been my privilege to walk through the living stories of labouring love, which Hogsback's show gardens are witness to.